A South Berwick-based food writer and her co-author are taking heat over their new cookbook, “Rage Baking, The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury and Women’s Voices,” from a blogger who says she coined the phrase “Rage Baking” years ago for her website and social media accounts aimed at fighting racial injustice.

“Rage Baking,” which was published this month by Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is a collection of more than 50 recipes as well as poems, essays and interviews with well-known bakers and female activists. The book was written and edited in a collaboration between Maine-based food writer Kathy Gunst and Katherine Alford.

Gunst, of South Berwick, is the author of 15 cookbooks, teaches food journalism and cooking at schools around the world, and is the resident chef for NPR’s “Here and Now.” Alford most recently spent the last 20 years at the Food Network, where she led the culinary team for television, print and digital.

The title of their new cookbook came under fire Feb. 14 when blogger Tangerine Jones, who started Rage Baking in 2015, began criticizing their choice for the book’s title in an essay titled, “The Privilege of Rage.” Jones describes herself as a black woman born and partly raised in the South. In her essay, Jones describes how she coined the phrase “Rage Baking” in 2015 and that while Gunst and Alford’s book got positive reviews, her work was never acknowledged.

On her website, ragebaking.com, Jones describes ragebaking as a form of meditation, a way to turn anger or sorrow into something beautiful. Jones said ragebaking is a way to combat hate and to put aside the ugliness of the world by going to the kitchen to bake something delicious. In the past, Jones posted material under the hashtag [email protected] and started a rage baking Instagram account. Jones’ Twitter account says she is a performance artist and writer who lives in New York City.

Jones, who has 1,369 Twitter followers, claims the new cookbook erases her efforts and makes no mention of racial injustice.

“Being black in America means you’re solid in the knowledge that folks don’t give a flyin’ (expletive) about you or anyone who looks like you,” is how her essay begins.

Gunst, Alford and Tiller Press released a statement Wednesday defending their book’s title.

“The idea for ‘Rage Baking’ developed authentically and organically. The authors, Kathy Gunst and Katherine Alford, gathered a range of voices to speak to all those who feel a sense of outrage over what is happening in our society and express their rage and their creativity through baking. In a message of hope and activism, together we thought the phrase ‘rage baking’ fit the essay and recipe collection the authors were putting together.”

“The intent has never been to claim ownership of the term ‘rage baking’ nor to erase or diminish the work of others using the phrase” their statement said. “Any attempt to lay claim to the term ‘rage baking’ denies the universal pull this concept/movement has for anyone who has witnessed injustice and has channeled their outrage in the kitchen – the very reason it made for a meaningful title of the collection.”

Their book offers readers the opportunity to bake down the patriarchy with recipes like Im-Peach-Ment Upside-Down Cake and Maine Blueberry Supreme Court Crumble. The cookbook also features essays, reflections, poems and interviews with well-known bakers and female activists.

“If all of this research around Rage Baking had been done prior to the book’s publication and the intention was to be a celebration of feminist women’s voices, why wasn’t I acknowledged for my efforts or contacted?” Jones wrote in her blog.

“Why did they chose ‘Rage Baking’ as the title of the book when it was clear Rage Baking was taken on all social media and I’d been the top hit for Rage Baking for years?” Jones asked.

Jones said that if the publisher and author want to make things right with her they should credit her for her work and make “sizable donations” to the Ali Forney Center, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and The Campaign Against Hunger.

Gunst and Alford said they have heard Jones and “in keeping with that spirit of communal activism, believe it is important to acknowledge Tangerine Jones’ contributions around the phrase in future editions of “Rage Baking” as well as the work of others who have used the phrase in their online publishing and social media activity.”

The authors said they have chosen to donate a portion of their proceeds from “Rage Baking “to Emily’s List, but they also encouraged readers to support the cause and organizations mentioned by Jones.

Emily’s List is an political action committee that supports the election of pro-choice Democratic female candidates.


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